Being Unemployed Sucks: What I Learned

Being Unemployed Sucks - picture of woman with head in her hand looking sad

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Good morning, Club Thrifty enthusiasts.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Half of you don’t have a clue who I am…or only know about me because of Holly’s writing. (Seriously, the turnover rate during the last 4 months has been ginormous!) I also know that Holly has been kicking some major ass at this gig all on her own. But, now that I’m not legally barred from writing on my own website, I’m back to help my wife with the site so that she can focus on freelance writing and earning more money from her side gigs. 

I Quit My Job (Twice)

Sooooo….that happened, right? Let me tell you, there is no better way to improve your self-esteem than to quit a job that you just started. If you ever want to find a way to start oozing confidence, just throw your family’s life into complete chaos. I swear, it works wonders! *insert sarcasm drip here*

For those of you who may not know, I attempted a career in the insurance and financial sales industry…and failed miserably. Although my intentions were good, I hated it. I wanted more control over my schedule and to make more money. What I got was a whole bunch of heartache and grief. While this has been the biggest fail of my life, I have learned a lot about myself and my family in the process. To celebrate my return to Club Thrifty, I thought I’d give you the gift of sharing these important insights. You’re welcome.

1) Salesmen Deserve High Pay

You may have heard that top salesmen are some of the most highly paid workers in the world. Do you want to know why that is? Good, because I’m about to tell you. It is because working in sales blows goats. This is especially true of outside sales jobs where you have to generate your own leads by pestering your friends and family to buy stuff that they don’t really want or need. Seriously, if you’ve never tried it and don’t have the right personality type, sales can be downright unbearable. I have a brand new respect for sales people of all kinds. There are only a select few that can handle this type of job. Those that can – and can do it well – deserve to get paid.

2) Being Unemployed Sucks

I also have a whole new respect for the turmoil that being unemployed can cause. Hell, I was voluntarily unemployed (twice). Its not like I was fired. Plus, Holly’s income was able to support us, so we really weren’t even feeling strapped for cash. In addition to that, there were plenty of easy ways to save money while we were living as a one-income family. Regardless, the whole ordeal still messed with my head. I’d never felt like such a failure and loser in my entire life. Fortunately, I got connections and some marketable skillz, yo! I can’t imagine what it would be like to be struggling to find a job. I’m thankful I didn’t have to find out.

3) Slow Down and Enjoy What You Have

Holly and I are go-getters. We have always had big dreams. We have always worked to find ways to make more money. However, there is definitely something to be said for slowing down and being happy with what you have. Going through this experience, as painful as it was, really made me slow down and appreciate what we already have that much more.

4) Moving Sucks

Do you remember that old M. Night Shyamalan movie The Happening starring Marky Mark? Watching that was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Still, the pain of watching that movie cannot compare to the pain of uprooting my family. Sure, our life will return to some sort of normalcy soon. However, it has been a highly emotional and traumatizing experience nonetheless.

5) My Family Loves Me

Through this whole thing, I’ve realized just how much my family loves me. Holly has stuck with me and supported me through all of it. Even my daughter comforted me the other night, saying, “Daddy, its OK. We’re all going to miss this house.” Most of all, I’ve also realized how much I love them too. Really, nothing else matters as long as we have each other…and that is just the way I like it.

So, there you have it. You can thank me later. Thanks for reading…and it feels great to be back!

Have you had any life-altering experiences lately? What have you learned from them? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Love that little piece about your daughter. Kids are the best. In terms of sales, I definitely agree that it’s a tough job but I also think it depends on what you’re selling. From what I’ve understood from Holly, you didn’t really believe in what they wanted you to sell so the model of selling to friends and family probably felt extra scummy. I think there are many sales jobs where you can both believe in what you’re selling and sell to businesses or other people who aren’t friends and family, and that might make it a lot more palatable. To me, any product that requires someone to sell to the people they love is a signal that the product isn’t very good so you need to capitalize on the emotional attachment to get the sale.

    1. Yeah, you pretty much summed it up! I don’t think that Greg was enthusiastic about the product. I also think he jut isn’t meant to do sales.

  2. I can see how being unemployed twice messed with your head. I feel the same way when multiple failures seem to happen one on top of another. At times like that it’s great to have loving family and friends to turn to for support and encouragement.

    1. I supported all of the decisions he made. We’re in this together!

  3. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

    I was in the insurance and financial services industry for a year and a half and was actually doing quite well, but my wife and I both had a feeling we should move closer to her family and it didn’t feel right to continue it out here (may have been because we knew exactly zero people outside of her family). I was unemployed for 6 months and have now been underemployed for another 4. So I know how you feel! I do like that I can blog now, though.

    1. Blogging is a great side job for the underemployed. And, you can keep at it once you get a regular full-time job.

      1. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

        Word. Or hopefully as a good segue into self-employment 🙂

  4. I agree 100% that salesman deserve high pay. It’s a tough job and just the thought of having a sales job makes me shudder. One of my friend’s in high school’s Dad was a salesman and he made bank, but he was one of those rare breeds that were made to work in sales and completely thrived.

    There were jobs eliminated at my work yesterday and it made me think of how thankful I am to be employed, and how difficult it would be to be without a job. Whether we admit it or not I think everyone puts a lot of their identity in their job and being employed.

    1. Yes, totally. It gets worse when you have kids as well.

  5. Congratulations on finding new employment each time you left a position. You are to be commended for persevering and looking for employment even though the job market has been bleak for several years. Too many people decide that living on unemployment isn’t so bad, especially if they also get LINK card and medical assistance while not working. That’s why we have so many people not even looking for work anymore ……and as a result the government doesn’t count them as unemployed to artificially hold down the unemployment rate. Best of luck in your new job!

    1. We’re lucky that he works in an industry that is always hiring- the mortuary industry. The mortuary industry isn’t perfect but morticians can almost always have their pick of jobs.

  6. Great to have you back, Greg!!! We’ve been through both a layoff (in a one-income family, no less) and a move, so we totally feel your pain, and Rick echoes your thoughts about how badly being unemployed messes with your head. So glad you found the truly important message throughout all of this though, that you have each other and that you’ll all get through it. 🙂

  7. Only in hindsight can Mr PoP look back on his time between gigs during the recession (which really wasn’t all that long considering what many went through) as “funemployment”. Though that’s still pretty sarcastic. I think anytime you want to have a job and don’t, it sucks.

    1. Yep, pretty much! Plus, this was Greg’s only stint of unemployment in ten years. It’s not something we’re used to and it’s not something that we want to get used to!

  8. Greg!! Like Matt said, kids are the best. It’s neat to see them begin to process things and be loving due to the situation at hand. I’ve had somewhat similar experiences in the past and can relate to how it can mess with your head. You’re exactly right in that these times can help you really appreciate what you have – which is truly what matters in the long run. Good luck in the new job!

  9. For six months last year I was out of a job. I would wake up each day, hit job sites, call people, make applications and at the end of the day feel like a loser, self-esteem went down, confidence too and I started questioning a lot of things.
    I can agree with you on one thing from that experience. Being grateful and thankful at what you already have and enjoying that moment however bad & unemployment certainly sucks.

    1. Yeah, unemployment really does suck…even if it is by choice.

  10. Hey Greg, glad that everything worked out in the end. I’m can see how leaving a job so soon makes you feel like a failure…but of course it is not true. Sales is not for everyone. I definitely could not do that. I don’t necessarily think salesmen deserve high pay…but good salesmen do. It is generally a commission based job, and salesmen bring in the money. So if you can bring the company clients/money…definitely gonna get paid! Surprisingly I didn’t hate the Happening that much…it was just kind of blah…

    1. Thanks Andrew! I actually hated The Village a lot more than the happening, but I thought both were pretty painful.

  11. Welcome back Greg! I was unwillingly in sales too when the bank decided they wanted their tellers to sell credit cards. I hated it but have total respect for the people who do it! It’s so icky, but someone has to do it!

    1. Thank you! Glad to be back! It is icky to me…but some people love it and are really great at it.

  12. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction says:

    I’ve never been directly in sales (except when I was asked to push a rewards card really hard in my high school retail job). I know for a fact that I am not cut out for it – I can’t pitch, and it is obvious when I don’t believe in what I am saying. Anyone want to play poker with me? 🙂

    Welcome back to the blog 🙂

    1. Thanks Alicia! I think we are going to invite you over for a game of Texas Holdem’. Bring lots of money 😉

  13. Interestingly enough, I had some very similar experiences! I left my first “career” when we moved to Nebraska a little over a year ago. I was then unemployed for six months before getting my job at The Bank. It’s very different than anything I’ve ever done and have seen a lot of people come and go but fortunately I like it and I’m good at it! I’m currently angling to get my second promotion within my first year with them. But being unemployed for those six months definitely took it’s toll! My self esteem was zilch even though my husband was being super supportive. I did a lot of self-reflection on the fact that having a job/career is very closely tied to my perceived self worth. PS, welcome back Greg!

    1. It is tough, isn’t it? I’m not sure that my career is necessarily tied to my self-worth, but supporting my family definitely is .

  14. Well first I’m glad you are employed again. I’ve been unemployed (and had NO ONE to fall back on) and it’s really scary! By the way aren’t all M.Night movies just the most painful movies ever created! 🙂

    1. Sucks to have your first movie be a HUGE hit then you spend the rest of your life trying unsuccessfully to do better.

      And yes, I agree good sales folks are better than gold, especially sincere ones. I would absolutely suck at it, and have avoided anything close to sales my entire career.

      1. Kyle – totes. I enjoyed The Sixth Sense…since then…ugh.

  15. Point 3 is by far my favorite. I do fall into the dreamer category and all too often, I’m guilty of focusing too much on the future and not living in the moment. While watching “The Office” (again) last night, I was struck by Andy saying, “I wish we could know we were in the good old days while we were actually in them.” Feels really relevant to the idea of trying to enjoy experiences while you’re in them instead of constantly planning.

    Hope life all gets back to normal soon for the Club Thrifty family. Sounds like you all provide such a great support system for each other.

    1. I love that quote! I think that is very true! I also think it is hard to KNOW that you are living in the good old days because you never want them to end…even though you know that they are going to.

  16. The line about Marky Mark cracked me up. I laugh out loud maybe 5 or 6 times a year from stuff I read…you’re on the list.

    I feel that we men in particular have a very hard time dealing with unemployment or any sort of career setback (missing out on a promotion, no bonus, etc.). Our self worth is unfortunately often tied up with career performance, and that’s a recipe for long term failure. It’s cool to see your perspective on the whole thing – good stuff.

    1. Sweet! I have successfully done my job 😀 Have a great rest of the weekend!

  17. I will definitely agree with you on how being unemployed sucks. I have been through it more than once. I have quit a job more than once without having anything lined up. It is not a fun process to go through. Looking for a job is a job on its own. I felt those mistakes are largely responsible for why my savings are not as high as I’d like them to be.

    I feel like I have a thicker skin now and have finally learned to not leave a job unless you have something else already lined up.

    1. You’re right. Looking for a job is a job all its own! Taking a risk can be a great thing. I’m just not sure that I understood all of the peripheral consequences that failing could cause. However, in the end, I think it is going to turn out great.

  18. I am definitely with you on the sales. In my job I get paid by the hour but my bonuses are commission based sales. I am NOT a sales person – at all. I could make a lot more money at my current job but I feel sleazy trying to sell people. Not for me. Glad you’re back though Greg! And, congrats on the new job!

    1. Thank you very much! I am a sales person in the job that I do now. However, it is a completely different kind of sales. I am not built for that type of sales job either. I’m just glad that I learned that sooner rather than later so we could recover quickly.

  19. I’m glad you’re back Greg! Sales is definitely no fun, and that is why Wes recently left his sales job. He loved everyone that he worked with, but the way customers treated him was just plain horrible.

    1. Thanks Michelle! I know that some people love doing sales and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I just never got that gene, and maybe Wes didn’t either 😀 Oh well, we are both good at lots of other stuff!

  20. Ugh, sounds like a tough few months man. Awesome you have a wife who kicks @$$ to back you up! And sales is a special kind of job, I definitely don’t think I could handle it. Glad to have you back. Hoping for some more political rants and such 🙂

    1. Thanks Jacob! You’re right, it is great to have a such a rockin’ wife. I’m sure you’ll hear some rants from me sometime soon, so buckle up and get ready 😉

  21. Sounds like a roller coaster ride Greg. Since quitting my job in February, I have definitely had my share of ups and downs. However, I dont have any desire to work for someone else again, so the freedom of owning my own business helps drive me every day to endure the challenges. Glad to see your back!

    1. That’s awesome Deacon! I’m glad it is working out for you. Perhaps someday Holly and I will both be able to work for ourselves. For now, we get the best of both worlds!

  22. Right now our lives are pretty good and most of the stuff is easy to foresee (as much as possible sure). I did get through job loss 2 times in my life and it wasn’t pretty 🙂

    1. It is tough isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by dojo!

  23. Nice to see a post from you Greg. It takes a big man to admit defeat or failure. But it is also crucial to taking the next step and moving on to something better. Good luck with where ever this takes you.

    1. Thanks for the well wishes, and it feels great to be back!

  24. Greg, welcome back! Thank you for being so honest and open about your experience. When CJ and (two years later) I left teaching, we struggled a bit financially. Both of us struggled emotionally, in different ways. For him, not bringing in the cash he was bringing in (and you know how rich teachers are!) was hard. For me, it was more about losing my peer group, colleagues, professional connections. Well, just like you, it made us realize how much we can rely on each other and how much being together matters more than anything else. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but it sounds like you’re kicking butt now.

    1. Thanks Tammy! I think any time you make a big transition in life it is natural to go through some tough emotional times. I just don’t think that we necessarily expect to experience the way it is going to effect us. I’m glad you guys pulled through, and I’m glad you found out just how important you are to each other as well!

  25. Welcome back, Greg, and thanks for sharing some really honest learning lessons! It was sad to read Holly’s post about you being stressed out, so it’s nice to hear that you’re in a better place. Hope the move goes well and I hear you about the Marky Mark movie – towards the end I was thinking, “where the heck is this going??”

    1. Thanks Anna! All is good here, and I’m looking forward to what is to come.

      And seriously, what the heck was that POS? 😀

  26. I had to get out of sales. It was not my forte and I just couldn’t push myself to tweak the truth in order to close the deal. It is not in my nature. I completely understand what you mean Greg. It is nice to see you back on the site and glad you are moving toward some normalcy.

    1. Thanks Grayson! Glad to be back in the hood.

  27. Sales not only blows, it blows goats! I almost peed my pants. Jim took a teaching job at a charter school right after he got licensed. The director was nuts and blamed him for everything without ever giving any direction and did not rehire him after that year. He almost went into a depression, so I get the emotional aspect of it. I would not consider it failure, but reaffirming that you are in the right profession at least until you are able to leave the day job for good if you want.

    1. Dude, don’t tell me I’m gonna have to get you some adult diapers!

      I agree. I definitely learned that I’m in the right profession for now. We’ll see what the future brings, but for now we have the best of both worlds in our house.

  28. My family thinks I am unemployed and I always get the pity looks haha, then they see the travel pics and I get the jealous looks. Every time I got a new job I regretted not taking more time off, so enjoy it while it lasts!

    1. Oh, I think I made the best of my time off. I went on two vacations…which reminds me I still need to write about the treasure hunt!!!

  29. Being in sales is awful. I had a brief 2 week trial at that over summer and was miserable. I didn’t like having some guy trying to pressure me into selling crap to my friends and family that I knew they couldn’t afford. Happy to hear you no longer have to deal with it.

    1. Thanks! I basically experienced the same thing. I’m glad you don’t have to do it any more too!

  30. Thanks to budget cuts, I have learned to adapt to a changing career. I never thought teaching could be such a insecure career.

    1. Who knew, right? Being able to adapt is a great quality!

  31. As a former Merrill Lynch stockbroker (quite possibly one of the worst they ever had), I absolutely agree with you that sales “blows goats.” Lol

    1. Ha! I’m sure you weren’t the worst! But yes, sales – especially financial sales – sucks…at least for somebody like me.

  32. Aw, that was so cute of your daughter to comfort you! Sales is very difficult- after being sales support for a few years I can definitely understand that. Besides cold calling, the clients they do deal with can sometimes be all sorts of ridiculous. I’ve also been in the position of quitting a job and being voluntarily unemployed, but that was while I was lucky enough to be living with my parents. I can’t imagine going through that with a family, but I am glad everything seems to be working out for you.

    1. Thanks EM. It was so sweet of her! She is a great little girl 😀

  33. Welcome back and congratulations to your new job. Indeed being in Sales is a hard job and deserves a high salary, especially since they are bringing in the revenue for the company they are working for. The part about your daughter was so touching I can only imagine how you felt when she said that. You and Holly must be so proud to have a compassionate and intelligent daughter.

    1. Thanks Marissa! We are very proud of her 😀 She is a very caring and sweet little girl!

  34. Although I’m in sales I have been lucky that I didn’t have to sell to friends and family. Having a supportive family is worth more than anything you could ever sell.

    1. You are lucky! You’re right, having a supportive family is way more important. My family was very supportive and helped me out in every way they could. I just don’t think this particular type of sales was for me.

  35. Welcome back! I think that you really had to try it – as every person should give it a go with everything they think might make them better or give them better results. Failure will make you feel as a loser at first, but when you finally get to do what you like and get the results, you will be glad that you failed instead of continuing the work in a field that you don’t actually enjoy.

    And just a curiosity – why were you legally barred from writing on your website?

    1. Thanks C.! I agree, when we come out on the other side of this, things will be even better than before.

      The reason that I was not allowed to write on my website was due to compliance issues with financial sales regulations in the U.S.

  36. Nice to see you again!

    I’m in the anti-sales camp – the thought of being in a sales job makes me sweat.

    My husband is thinking about trying to get into car sales – he loves cars and he’s a talker, but whether he’d be good at closing deals (or could even get into the industry) remains to be seen.

    1. Thanks! It is great to be back.

      As far as sales goes, there are different types of sales careers. Some people are great at finding and creating leads…and they love it. I’m just not one of them.

  37. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    I agree with your point about sometimes slowing down. I think often times we’re all told we deserve better, we deserve more money, we deserve more job responsibility, but sometimes, I think being happy with what you have ain’t bad. If you’re able to pay the bills, save for fun, save for retirement, take vacations, etc, what more do you need? I’m realizing this with my own job plan and am looking to take a different turn when I search for a job again in a few years.

    1. I think that is true. Happiness counts for a lot. I don’t think it is bad to reach for more, ut there has to be a balance as well.

  38. Slowing down and really appreciating what we have is important but something that we don’t always remember to do. Thanks for the reminder. My job can be so frustrating sometimes, but I’m lucky to have it.

    1. It is great to have a job, isn’t it. Reaching for more and having dreams is great. But I think there is a balance as well.

  39. Good to see you again Greg 🙂

    I tried the sales route a few times back in the day, but like you stated, I really did not have the personality for it and I only lasted a couple of days on each gig.

    That being said, I do agree that it sucks being unemployed when you are in need of work. Hopefully though, during that time one can focus on what they really want out of a job and are able to find work that is satisfying as well as rewarding.

    Take care and the best of luck in all that you do.


    1. Thanks Lyle! Glad to be back. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who hated their foray into sales 😀

  40. Welcome back to the blog! Even though it didn’t work out, it’s probably good that you branched out and found out what you don’t want to do with your life. I totally agree with you on the sales people thing, I could never, ever be good at sales, and I completely respect the people who make it in that profession.

    1. Thanks Jordann! I’m glad to be back in the swing of thing!

  41. WOOHOO! Greg is back! I was so sick of reading about Holly, Holly, Holly! (Just kidding Holly). Thanks for sharing your experience. It might come in handy for me down the road 🙂

    1. Word! That girl just talks and talks about herself, right? 😉

  42. Glad to have you back Greg! What you went through does blow goats but you and Holly learned a LOT from it. If you didn’t experience the things you did you would constantly wonder ”what if?” You guys were in a good position when you did it so why not? So glad things are working out for you guys now!

  43. Thanks Catherine! Yeah, the last few months have been quite a difficult time. However, we had set ourselves up in a great position to be able to try some different stuff.

    Thanks for dropping by and glad to see you again!

  44. For a sales person to make a sale, they put a lot of effort and I agree they deserve more money. I can remember turning down a couple of offers from sales people and at the back of my mind I know they are not very happy even though there is nothing they can do about it.

  45. Seriously, if a financial adviser was really good at what they do they wouldn’t need to be working…think about it !!!!

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